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Industry News August retail sales growth supports consumer optimism

Published on September 3rd, 2013 | by The GC Team

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August retail sales growth supports consumer optimism

UK retail sales values rose 1.8% on a like-for-like basis during August, up from a 0.4% decline in August 2012. The BRC today reported that, on a total basis, sales were up 3.6%, against a 1.6% increase in the same month last year.

While the growth was broad based, the home categories were the best performers, rebounding from July, while food was the slowest category due to the tough comparatives during the Olympics last year.

Online sales of non-food products grew 15.0% on a weighted basis, representing the best performance this year. In August 2012, the unweighted RSM non-food non-store indicator increased by 4.8% over the previous year, the lowest online growth ever recorded.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “While these figures don’t quite reach the lofty heights of what was an exceptional July, they’re keeping the good run going and are well above the 12-month average for sales growth. Taken hand-in-hand with a recent uptick in consumer confidence, the signs are that many of us are feeling a little more positive about the economic outlook and responding well to good deals and new autumn collections alike.

“Overall, these are very encouraging figures which maintain the sense that a consumer-led recovery is tentatively taking shape.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, commented: “This is a solid performance by retailers and demonstrates that confidence is slowly but surely returning to the UK’s high streets. Such a retail revival is particularly welcome after the disappointing sales seen last summer, when sales of non-food items ground to a halt as people were distracted by the Olympic Games.

“After suffering from some of the worst sales on record last year, furniture and flooring sales rebounded this month. It’s a positive sign that consumers feel confident enough about the future to make large scale, non-essential investments in their homes. Whether or not these investments are being powered by finance or consumers dipping into their savings remains to be seen – a debt or savings-fuelled spending bubble, of course, would not be sustainable in the long term.”

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